French Web Precursor Minitel to Shut Down

France Telecom is shutting down Minitel – the precursor to the web – a service which provides information services to the carrier’s customers. In less than a year, the service will be shuttered despite recently having about 10 million subscribers.

Like so many ideas which are good – a newer technology can come along and make even a well-liked service obsolete. Even though Minitel had a super-long run in tech years – 30 years, it reminds us that no matter how long you have been around – you can be wiped out when a newer and better technology comes along. In this case that new tech is broadband, the web and cheap computers.

One wonders however if France Telecom had focused on improving Minitel and broadening its reach so other global carriers could leverage it – would today’s Internet be dominated by France-based instead of US based companies?

I guess we will never know.

TMC’s Peter Bernstein has more.

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